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Pomo Canyon Trail Red Hill Trail Loop from Shell Beach

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Sonoma Coast State Park

Pomo Canyon Trail Red Hill Trail Loop from Shell Beach is a 6.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Jenner, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length 6.5 mi Elevation gain 1,594 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Beach

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (20)
Contact
Tips

An old California ranch overlooking the coast and Jenner headlands. Red Hill provides a series of trails climbing the tallest ridge just south of the Russian River on the coast. This exposed landscape of grasslands and chaparral provides plenty of sweeping vistas overlooking the mouth of the Russian River watershed out to Jenner, coastlines down to Bodega Head, and some great overlooks into Willow Creek. The hike includes some long and steady uphill segments right from the start with the only level areas along the ridge between the Hill and Willow Creek and the upper meadows. There's plenty of variety to break up the view and provide surprises when rounding knolls. Dropping down into Willow Creek is via a fairly steep trail through an amazing stretch of mixed and Redwood forest lush with ferns on the ground. Overall, a great walk. A partnership between Sonoma County and the State Park Systems recently added Willow Creek to the group of parks called Sonoma Coast State Beach. The "Beach" is actually a series of beaches separated by bluffs and headlands extending 17 miles from Bodega Head to a point 4 miles north of Jenner.

Don't rely on the park map for the Red Hill Trail system. Several trails are not displayed that intersect this route. The physical intersections on the ground have signposts but don't match the map illustrations. It can get windy and foggy on the coast. Winters can get wet. Bring layers.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (380)
Photos (392)
Recordings (297)
Completed (604)
Tyler Chuck
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Hiking

A great hike with pockets of huge dense trees. Great views of the Russian River and the ocean! Trail is well maintained with some wood planks to get over wet areas. Nice campsite at the end as well tucked away in Redwood trees. No part of the trail is too steep. Makes for a lovely and quick hike.

View Tyler's Recording
Jason Heskett
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Hiking

Much of the over growth was trimmed back, wonderful hike with some nice climbs and views. A little foggy that day, but redwood groves were amazing in the cool air.

Nicholas Weil
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Hiking
View Nicholas's Recording
Leslie Acquistapace
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Beautiful views

Cindy K.
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Hiking

Definitely you need to wear long pants!! It is too overgrown. Otherwise it is a nice trail.

Allan Hodge
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HikingGreat!Over grown

Lots of parking (at least on this day) at Shell Beach, which was nice. Trail is moderately easy. It's overgrown a lot of the way. If you don't like a lot of grasses and a few other more abrasive plants swiping your legs, you might want to wear long pants. Very scenic. I'd never guess there were little groves of redwoods back there based on the view at the beginning.

View Allan's Recording
Isaias Iniguez
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Hiking

Relatively east hike if you don’t hike down to the campground.

View Isaias's Recording
Danielle DeCosta
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Hiking

Most of Pomo Canyon Trail is over grown and the beginning of Red Hill Trail is, too. So wear long pants! But beautiful and worth it!

View Danielle's Recording
Matthew O'Donnell
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Hiking

Nice trail. A little overgrown in some places. Like other reviewers have said- go clockwise for views on the return.

View Matthew's Recording
Stacey Maslyar
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HikingGreat!

We hiked this on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. We arrived about 9:30am and there was plenty of parking at Shell Beach where there are also bathrooms. Temperature was low 70's. Very few people on the trail. The hike starts across HWY 1 with some elevation gain, but then levels out. Overall the hike has plenty of ups/downs therefore I rate it moderate. If you choose not to hike down to the campground and then back up, I would rate the hike as a little easier. We hiked the loop clockwise. The small redwood groves are worth the hike in and then the second part of the hike offers amazing views of the ocean. Definitely reward yourself when you return to Shell Beach by walking down to enjoy our beautiful California coast.

Kali Marie
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HikingOver grown
View Kali's Recording
Tony Bucklen
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HikingBugs

Great trail with amazing views of the coastline and Pacific. Some parts of the trail are overgrown but not too bad. Some bugs and poison oak so be careful if you are sensitive to that. Blustery day on the coast as usual. Very enjoyable hike

View Tony's Recording
Nicholas Mascardo
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Excellent trail! A good mix of terrain and it is well balanced with shade. I recommend parking at the Shell Beach parking lot, because Willow Creek Road to Pomo Canyon Campgrounds is one way and is best suited for vehicles with good clearance.

Amanda Pezzullo
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I would recommend going clockwise on this trail. It gave us the best views coming back down the hill facing the water. Lots of different views of forest, open landscape, and coast. The tail end of Pomo Canyon is beautiful but be ready for a straight down hill and then back up to catch the loop.

Comment from AllTrails

- 1 month ago

Thank you for your feedback. We have gone ahead and changed the route to reflect your comments.

View Amanda's Recording
Bryan Bell
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HikingBugsOver grown

Absolutely amazing trail with breathtaking views from the coast to old growth redwood forest. Totally overgrown and narrow trail, you definitely need pants...or even a machete haha. Totally worth it. Will hike again.

View Bryan's Recording
Lars Hellerslien
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HikingOver grown
View Lars's Recording
John Mussotto
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Hiking

Very nice hike and like others said start out clock wise for the best ocean views. I would recommend not going to Pomo canyon as it's nothing spectacular and all down hill then up again. The trail comes out in a campground. Went in early spring trail was in good shape.

View John's Recording
Sarah Mones Friedman
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Hiking

Absolutely spectacular! Lots of different microclimates to explore. Expansive views, river meeting the ocean, redwood groves, delightful!

View Sarah's Recording
Perry Zwei
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HikingMuddy
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Isabelle Parker
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Hiking

Beautiful hike with much variation. I appreciate the advice to go clockwise! Much better ocean views. The view of the ocean is stunning when you come to the top of Red Hill. Make sure to go to the top. (There is also a well placed picnic table.)

Kara LaFleur
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HikingMuddy
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Vanessa Christie
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WalkingMuddy

Beautiful at sunset. Definitely go clockwise to get max time with ocean views. North side of trail pretty muddy at parts but nothing too bad. Will def go again!!

View Vanessa's Recording
Courtney C
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HikingMuddy
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Eric Brown
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HikingMuddy
View Eric's Recording
Daniel Aguirre
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Hiking

Began foggy at the parking lot but cleared up about 1/4 of the way up. Did the loop clockwise which I thought was better because the way down you have a great view of the mouth of the Russian river and ocean.

Jenna Lewis
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Hiking

Started at the coast, foggy day and good wind made this positively delightful. Beautiful views.

Javier Ruiz
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HikingOver grown

Fun hike and gorgeous hike, and the elevation gain is a bit deceiving. After the morning fog cleared, things got better. Gorgeous redwood groves. I did this one out and back and not the loop. Next time I will the the whole thing for sure. I would also wear pants. Lets got pretty scraped up for the over-grown portions of the trail.

Darren He
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 1, 2019
HikingNo shade

First mile and a half or so goes directly into the sun, so wear a hat and don't expect any shade even if you go early in the morning. On our hike, there was no wind as well, so despite it being 57 degrees out at 7:30 AM, it was really hot. The parts of the hike under tree cover are pretty nice. Many parts of the trail are sort of narrow. Another hiker mentioned that she scared away a mountain lion with her whistle. We didn't see a mountain lion, but worth being careful as always. Not a bad trail, but nothing special either, and definitely not deserving of a 4.5-star ranking.

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